Prepare… but don’t prepare too much!

Too Much Preparation in Startup is Slowing You Down.

If you’re anything like me, you want to be prepared for what’s coming in just about anything. We read business blogs and follow the advice of podcasters and do virtually everything we can to prepare for our new business venture during startup. This is good sound advice but I have found that what may seem to be a good and well thought out strategy may often time be the Achilles heel.

My experience with a startup is not like most successful business owners. I didn’t slowly and methodically work to start some grand new idea over time and responsibly transition out of a fulltime job to fulltime self-employment. A friend of mine said that I could best be described as “Entrepreneur by necessity.” Meaning that I had to hustle out a new business right before Christmas after losing my really good job. That’s a long and different story for another time but what starting a new business in a month and a half has taught me is that anyone can start fast with only minimal preparation and be incredibly successful.

There are 4 different kinds of startup personalities

  1. The Dream big but never start person
  2. The dabble but never commit person
  3. Prepare so much they miss the bandwagon person
  4.  The shoot first aim later person 

The “dream big but never start” person is just what it says. They talk a big game and dream about starting a new business but year after year you never see them doing much more than talking about it. The “dabble but never commit” person works on a new business and finds spear time to work on it and maybe make a few light sales but is too afraid to jump in with both feet. The “Shoot first and aim later” person is me! This person sees an idea and executes on it without much preparation. They are so confident in their skills that they fear very little and usually, with some bumps in the road, manage to etch out a fairly successful business. “Prepare so much they miss the bandwagon person”. This person has the full intention and commitment to start but is so fearful of failure they spend way too much time preparing and miss the movement. Most of the time this person is frustrated with experiencing the same failure as the person that didn’t wait and over-prepare. They see that failures are inevitable and the person that just jumped in and went for it is further ahead by learning on the fly.   

What is the common thread of all these people? Preparation. Some prepare too much and others don’t prepare enough. While The Dream big but never start person dream their life away, The shoot first aim later person flounders around trying to organize. My feeling is a happy medium of preparation is what will bring it across the finish line. To be honest, Shooting first and aiming later is a better way to go. At least you’re moving and creating action even if its messy in the beginning. 

Do not waist too much time preparing! You are only wasting time and… to make it worse, your competition is already out there out-husting you. They are learning in real-time the lessons you’re trying to avoid. They are gaining the experience to handle the failures that you too WILL have to experience no matter how much you prepare!

Over-preparation has another nasty little friend- your mind! The human mind can talk itself into and out of almost anything. If you are preparing too much, you are likely going to talk yourself out of either taking the necissary risks or not starting the business altogether.

Understand, I’m not talking about putting yourself on death-ground for business startup like the big time self-made millionaire and billionaires of unicorn style company startups do. The vast majority of people couldn’t handle that kind of commitment (that’s why they are called the 99%) but you can start a very successful business if you just take preparation in moderation. Remember Shoot first and aim later is probably the best way but be ready to hustle to keep organized. But also keep in mind that it’s still better than hustling to catch up or never get started at all of the other 3.

Daniel J Bockman

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